Nothing encapsulates Nick Tooth better than the tournament named in his honour.
“This was his day to a T. That’s what he was about,” his mum Julie said.
The third Nick Tooth Memorial Rugby Tens was held in Quirindi on Saturday, drawing 16 teams from across NSW and Victoria.
“Nick would have thought this is the best day he could possibly have,” she said.
“If I could have all my friends in one place having a beer and watching rugby my dreams would all come true.”
A celebration of Nick and the things he loved, the overriding sentiment of the day was mateship and camaraderie.
“One of the biggest points for me is to see so many of Nick’s friends and associations from those friendships,” Julie said.
Many haven’t seen each other since the last tournament or uni or school. It’s a testament to, and reminder of, the man that Nick was.
“That’s why part of it makes me so happy. He’s 100 per cent here in everyone’s faces,” she said.
“There’s never a day you don’t think about it but this is the one day I think of it happily. This is what made him smile in life.”
Proud that he has been able to leave such a good legacy, she is humbled by the support and the way the local community and Nick’s friends have rallied to make the event a continued success.
The success of the first event led to the creation of the Nick Tooth Foundation, and sparked a passion to raise awareness of concussion and brain injury, and make the game that Nick loved as safe as possible.
Since it was established last year, the foundation has raised more than $140,000, and been at the forefront of the development and introduction of the blue card, which is set to be rolled out across the country next year. The money raised on Saturday will go towards helping implementing that. But that is only part of the picture.
One of the most important tools is research, and the foundation is focussing on establishing a nationwide data collection program.
It will provide a greater understanding of concussion.
“Collecting the data is invaluable,” Julie said.
As an extension of that the foundation is working with ARU Concussion Consultant Andrew Gardner and a doctor from Nick’s Sydney club Easts and looking at videoing all football games.
“The doctors say if they can see when it happens they can get so much from that,” Julie said.